This article will show you some simple steps you can take to increase the credibility of your site with a very low amount of effort. Today I came across this fantastic article by Daniel Scocco:
His article inspired me to write about this topic and to extend his thinking a bit beyond Private Registrations.
Scocco's argument is that using private registration on your domain names leads to less trust. This is 100% true but here's another big reason not to use Private Registration if you ever plan to install an extended verification SSL certificate on your site you'll have to remove the privacy registration settings (and trust me, that can be a pain in the butt).
One of the reasons privacy exists is that whois records are public and you don't necessarily want your personal information out hanging in the wind when don't use private registration. Since private registrations are no good for business sites I recommend that you create a special email address or email address alias for your domain name registrations (so that your main email address doesn't get hit with spam) and that you don't use your home address (so people don't show up at your doorstep). If you don't have a business address, go down to your post office and get a PO Box — you don't necessarily need to use “PO Box” nomenclature on your address, just enter the street address of your post office then have your box number appear as the suite number.
Some other practices that will help to get you more credibility with Google, other services and your audience would be to do the exact opposite of what the spammers would do, right? So here are a few tips for you when registering your domain names and setting up your website:
- Don't use private registration — yeah, we've already talked about this.
- Register your domain name for longer than the 1 year minimum — I'm not sure I've noticed extreme benefits from this one but I feel like it gives you a sense of permanence and credibility.
- Use a unique IP address for your website — if you're going to be using SSL on your site then you'll need to do this anyway. You can still be on a shared or virtual server — just see if your web host can make this happen for you if you don't already know how to do this.
- Get a custom graphic design or a customize an existing template — Okay, I'm a bit of a hypocrite here since the graphics on my site suck — but I'm working on it! 🙂 Web spammers would never spend the money to roll out their own custom graphics — it would be too expensive for them. And yes, you can get a graphic designer to create custom graphics for you if you're using a theme framework like the one I use — Thesis.
Every little bit of credibility counts and so even if any of these suggestions don't give you huge benefits immediately you should still adhere to them because they'll pay off over time. The less you look like a web spammer and the more credibility you have with Google and your audience the better 🙂 …